A MAN watched his penis turn black and rot after he injected it with cocaine.
The horrifying tale was reported by doctors in New York.
They said the 35-year-old unnamed man turned up at the emergency room at BronxCare Hospital Center in agony.
He had spent the past three days in “excruciating” and worsening pain in the penis, scrotum, groin area and right foot.
The pain started almost immediately after he injected the class A drug cocaine into the dorsal vein of the penis, which runs the full length of the shaft.
It wasn’t the first time he had chosen the mind-boggling method of delivering his high.
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The man admitted to having injected cocaine into the dorsal vein at least twice in the past fortnight, although without any obvious problems.
He said he had a long history of intravenous drug use, and with most other injection sites damaged, he had turned to one of the only places left – his penis.
Upon examination, medics discovered swelling, ulcers, a “foul-smelling serious discharge”, and necrosis, the medical term for rotting tissue.
The unidentified man had a significant history of drug use but no STIs were discovered.
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Doctors quickly started him on an IV of antibiotics and his condition “improved slowly”.
The patient refused to have surgery to cut away at the dying tissue of his penis, which was receiving standard wound care.
After spending five days hooked up to antibiotics, the man was given a 10-day course of pills.
The case report said: “His clinical condition improved, but he refused to go for drug rehabilitation treatment and was later lost to follow-up.”
It’s not clear how well the man recovered from the ordeal.
Cocaine is “one of the most dangerous drugs”, the medics stated in the American Journal of Case Reports.
While it is typically snorted as a powder, it may also be rubbed into the gums or dissolved in water and injected straight into the bloodstream through a vein.
“Crack” is the street name for a form of cocaine that has been processed into a rock, which, when heated, can be smoked.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says: “Dissolving cocaine in water and injecting it (intravenous use) releases the drug directly into the bloodstream and heightens the intensity of its effects.
“Any route of administration can potentially lead to absorption of toxic amounts of cocaine, causing heart attacks, strokes, or seizures—all of which can result in sudden death.”
The mechanism behind how the cocaine rotted the patient’s flesh was unclear.
But the doctors noted around 80 per cent of cocaine seized in the US is cut with levamisole, a parasitic worming treatment for animals.
Around two thirds of cocaine smuggled into Britain contains the chemical.
In very rare cases, cocaine with levamisole can cause the skin to rot. Users have seen parts of their face, limbs, genitals and stomach blacken and die.
Unfortunately, the New York medics were unable to test for levamisole in their patient.
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They concluded: “Our case highlights the importance of taking a thorough history from i.v. drug users, as they are at risk of injecting drugs into unusual sites, such as the dorsal penile vein.
“It is important for the physician to counsel active i.v. drug users regarding possible complications of injecting drugs in atypical and dangerous injection sites.”
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